Neil Lennon, me and Depression

I look at Neil Lennon and I think to myself. Where the hell does he get the strength from ?
The reason I ask is because like our Gaffer I suffer from depression. This isn’t the type of depression that can be sorted over six months  it’s the type of depression that you have to live with everyday and constantly fight.
Don’t get me wrong when I say that because you can go for one or two years feeling fine but then for no reason it just hits you like a ton of bricks. There are some warning signs but you tend to ignore them because you want to show that ‘your ok’ . You get into a situation where you don’t want to ‘bother’ anyone because they have their own problems without you adding to them. You feel a constant need to  try and lead from the front because you don’t want anyone close to you to think that your not in charge of events. In that way it’s probably harder if your a man and especially if you have a wife and family. However in the modern world it’s just as easy for woman to feel like that.
I have suffered from this for over 20 years but unfortunately I never knew it. That was the last thing on my mind. I just thought I was lazy because I went from springing out of bed in the morning to go to out to a job I loved to looking for excuses not to go.
Eventually after 10yrs of thinking I was a lazy useless bugger I finally broke down and spoke to a Doctor.  Since then I have been able to recognise the triggers and manage my condition. That’s what it’s all about after you know that you suffer from long term depression just like any longterm physical ailment you need to manage your illness and as such you will have good days and bad days. The main thing is that you finally understand your illness and therefore you can manage it to the best of your ability.
Neil Lennon is no different to me or anyone else who has this illness. He has a family, a job and responsibilities. Just like me and many others he has to go out to work everyday and do a shift to the best of his abilities. He might be a millionaire with no money worries but if you suffer from depression I can assure you that money is the least of your worries.
I’ve probably rambled on a bit here but the crux of this matter is that I take real inspiration from Neil Lennon. When I look at the pressure he is under as the boss of Celtic I know that he can handle that because from my own experience if you get paid for doing a job you would do for nothing then  you are a lucky guy. Simply money does not come into it. It’s a bonus.
However , I don’t have a shower of low grade proffessional hacks and dubious administrators watching my every move looking for a chance to stick the boot in. In that respect my life, depression or not is far easier that Neil Lennon’s.
Neil Lennon would not ask me or anyone else to complain on his behalf but fuck it. I’m going to.
We are meant to be living in a society that recognises people with mental health problems. We are constantly told that it is better to go and see a doctor and to be open to your freinds about our condition. That is the way to go, I can’t argue with that in fact I openly encourage that. Unfortunately Neil Lennon has took these steps. He has been open about his fight against depression in the hope that if he as a high profile person can be honest then it may make it a bit easier for people like me to seek help and also show the rest of society that this is a human condition shared by many people regardless of age or social standing.
To the eternal disgrace of the media and football authorities in this country he has not been rewarded for his openess infact the complete opposite has happened. He has been villified at everyturn. Made out to look like a monster in the press which has suited the agenda of the SFA.
I don’t care who you support or even if you like Neil Lennon just sit down and ask yourself these questions.

  1. If one of your relatives suffered from mental health issues would not expect their proffessional governing body to take this into account when charges are brought against them ?
  2. Would you think that it was ok for the press to publicly villifie them ?

Unless your a souless bastard you would answer No to both questions.
Hey Ho but this is Scotland.

15 thoughts on “Neil Lennon, me and Depression

  1. With held my name & used my spam address for reason that will become clear.
    I’ve been treated for depression in the past. I was at the stage of looking for “ways out” by that I think you know what I mean, but I’ll elaborate a bit.
    Sitting at a train station for over an hour watching the trains going by and running through all the outcomes – not just to ones self, but the train driver, the emergency service that would have to “clean things up” family & friends. Although I’d no intention of taking that way out there and then it was one of a number of routes I was “exploring” along with the outcomes/effects on others as mentioned.
    At about this time Neil Lennon was with Notts. Forest coaching and there was some mention of him suffering with depression in the press. My thoughts where how could someone with a great career, a good financial outlook and all the other trappings that come with a successful sports career have depression? How could such a person be feeling like I was to a certain degree?
    I read all the article written about NL and depression, I remember one part where he said something like “sometimes I didn’t even feel like getting out of bed let alone putting on football boots”
    I so identified with that statement having spent more than a few days in bed, over many months only getting up to go to the toilet and that was a big ask!
    Neil’s public speaking in the press about depression gave me the courage to do something I should have done but was scared/didn’t see the point/would only be told to “pull myself together” and that is go and see my doctor.
    Having done so and breaking down in her office, I turned a corner. Just having someone listen, let alone her kindness and professionalism in getting me the help I needed really did mean a hell of a lot.
    It took a little while, with the help of the medical profession, to get me back to myself, I still get down from time to time, but I can see the route to the “deep dark hole” and know how to avoid it.
    The people I have to thank? My doctor at the time, the other health professionals and most importantly the person whos speaking out about depression pushed/lead/made me seek help NEIL LENNON.
    No matter if he get Celtic relegated next season, he’ll always have my up most respect and a very special place in my thoughts.

  2. from brianbhoy07
    James, I’d never seen this post before or I’d definetely have responded.
    I too like yourself, like Neil and like our friend above, have suffered terribly with depression, the kind that I lived with all my life and could knock me clean off my highest of high points and into the depth of despair with no fathom-able cause.
    I hid it virtually all my life and I ‘gpt by’ but inside of the ultra laid back, seemingly happy go lucky exterior…I was a car crash of emotions. I’m not ashamed to admit it, once I after 27 years came to accept the doctors diagnosis, it all suddenly made sense.
    Well no actually it didn’t, it never makes sense not least to the sufferer, but you guys will relate to what I mean…you suddenly knew the diagnosis made connection of all you previously couldn’t or perhaps wouldn’t have admitted to even yourselves.
    It’s not a disease brought on by being ‘depressed’ in the usual sense of the word, it’s way more inwxplicable than that…it does however make tough times a million times harder to rationalise and to deal with. It takes massive courage to live with depression, I defy anyone who has any experience of a ‘real’ depression not to have considered whether the suffering was worth battling on with. I my friends have most certainly been there, many times over in fact.
    In fact I write this response tonight whilst dealing with the most adverse and personally traumatic emotions I have ever experienced, the kind of day I just had is the day we all, depressive or otherwise, would dread and fear.
    Today the courts and the legal system delivered the kinda body blow which a few short months ago, I fear I would have no chance of recovering from…today I officially lost my son to his ‘lawful abductor’.
    Ironically, though obviously deeply saddened and very down, at present I am in quite a good place ‘mentally’ I feel strong and resillent. I do however fear the coming days, weeks and months as the reality of the situation dawns upon me during one of my lower ebs.
    Life is damn cruel at the best of times and to the most healthy of people, every day is a marathon test of our resolve and our courage when suffering from depression.
    I expect nor want any sympathy or favours, but like you said James, the fear of being stigmatised or being treated inhumanely is a real and constant one.
    I developed ticks a few years back and in one of my lowest periods found out I had a form of tourettes…fuck it I thought, already live with depression in for a penny and in for a bastarding pound!! 😉
    Of course I laugh, if I didn’t I may cry, I have self loathed and experienced for once so confident a bhoy…the most outrageous self doubts and social leperosy, often hiding under covers when the door or even the phone rang.
    I met the most understanding of people and thankfully she keeps me focussed and by and large quite positive…we all need understanding and unconditional respect, you guys and our gaffer Neil most certainly have mine. I take my hat off to you both and I would offer my ear to you if you ever needed an understanding one to bend sometimes.
    I have really not told you the half of my problems, the list has been an endless legacy of both exceptionally bad luck and to be honest ‘weak’ moments…I don’t mean weak as in I am a weak person, I mean in terms of my health, sometimes my resillence just isn’t there.
    Anyway I cheer myself up by thinking that there alway some poor bugger worse off than me, I remind myself of them each day.
    We have ninety-nine problems but OUR CLUB ain’t one, if you’ve got tax problems I feel bad for you son, I got ninety-nine problems but the HOOPS ain’t one. 😉
    God bless guys.

    1. Cheers for sharing as they say Brian. I’m just coming out the other side of quite a bad one there one of my worst to be honest. In a way this place kept me going, gave me a purpose,you’ll know what I mean. Now my confidence is back I’ve took on 2 post grad diplomas which will keep me focussed over the next year or two.

      1. from brianbhoy07
        Glad to lend my support to what was a very brave article. I recieved a bit of feedback from others who thought very highly of the article, you done yourself and many other suffers proud mate.
        It’s nothing to be ashamed of and no big secret of mine, more than happy to share my experiences.
        Glad to hear your developing a coping mechanism and feel stronger.
        Anytime you ever need a chat buddy, I previously provided you with my contact details, feel free to use them. HH

  3. Just discovered this article , reading honest accounts of others symptoms always helps. I too had a bad episode around the time Lenny spoke out about it. Its hard to explain how someone doing that can actually help you when you are in the depts of it.
    I realised that i wasnt a freak , even though i suffered like this since my early teenage years. I remember being told by my doctor ,who was brilliant btw, that i had to take a tablet for it. I think that scared me more til i read lennys article . The relief of hearing him say its not the end of the world if you have to take medication is hard to explain . for years i drank myself into sobriety , being the funny easy going guy when drunk to plunging into the abyss next morning. I used to travel from ireland to glasgow up to 12 – 13 times a season , so to hear to hear lenny and other bhoys talking about helped me no end. i still have the odd day where i have to keep telling myself im going to be fine , but all in all the fact i know whats wrong with me has made a much stronger person.
    For those in that situation now , go get help . Believe me it does get better.

  4. Great read,and like others who have responded I also suffer,I find it strange that I can talk to others about my depression but find it hard to discuss it with those close to me,my doctor was really good and put me in the right direction for help. I feel for folk who think that they can’t go for help because of the stigma mental health has,or they come across people who say” get on with it,you’ll be fine”it’s not their fault they just don’t understand it,but please anyone reading these stories,I beg you go and seek help if you think you need it,it is nothing to be ashamed of.

  5. Very brave lads and I hope good health continues.I have not suffered myself but a close relative has and it led to complicated issues.Talking it all through with the right folk eased the situation and he has a light at the end of the tunnel and is doing great things now.

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